May 21, 2024

Can Student Work Experience Be Considered for Express Entry?

Does Student Work Experience Qualify for Express Entry? All three Express Entry-managed programs necessitate candidates to possess eligible prior work experience to qualify for permanent residency in Canada.

However, this article offers insights into which Express Entry programs allow applicants to utilize employment experience acquired as a student to meet the work experience prerequisite for that particular program.

Federal Skilled Worker Program

Under the Federal Skilled Worker Program, Express Entry candidates can potentially leverage work experience acquired during their studies, whether in Canada or abroad, to meet the program's minimum requirements if:

  • The work was compensated, either through wages or commission
  • There were no breaks in employment, indicating continuous work
  • The work aligns with all other program criteria
  • IRCC also acknowledges that co-op programs and apprenticeships qualify as eligible forms of student work experience as long as they satisfy the aforementioned conditions.

Canadian Experience Class

In contrast to the Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP), Canadian Experience Class applicants cannot count work experience acquired during their studies, whether in Canada or abroad, towards meeting the program's minimum requirements.

Federal Skilled Trades Program

Does student work experience count for Express Entry? Similar to the Canadian Experience Class (CEC), student work experience is not considered in meeting the minimum requirements for the Federal Skilled Trades Program.

How Does Student Work Experience Impact My CRS Score?

CRS scores play a crucial role in the Express Entry immigration system. They serve as the basis for ranking applicant profiles, determining who receives an Invitation to Apply (ITA) for permanent residency in Canada.

IRCC specifies that Canadian work experience acquired while the Express Entry applicant is a full-time student does not contribute to their score. Additionally, work experience gained during full-time studies completed abroad also does not factor into an applicant's CRS score.

What Are the Minimum Requirements for Each Express Entry Program?


Here's an overview of the minimum requirements for this program, divided into three sections:

Skilled Work Experience

Applicants must have at least one year of paid, full-time, or equivalent part-time, continuous skilled employment under the same NOC code. This work experience must align with one of the TEER NOC categories: TEER 0, TEER 1, TEER 2, or TEER 3.

Language Ability

FSWP applicants must achieve a minimum CLB 7 in English/French for all four language abilities: reading, writing, speaking, and listening.


FSWP applicants must meet one of the following criteria:

Hold a certificate/diploma/degree from a Canadian high school or post-secondary institution

Possess a completed educational credential and a valid Educational Credential Assessment (ECA) if the applicant has foreign education

2. Canadian Experience Class (CEC)

The minimum requirements for this program are categorized into two sections:

Skilled Work Experience

Applicants must have at least one year of paid, full-time, or equivalent part-time skilled work experience in Canada within the three years prior to submitting the application.

To qualify, this work experience must align with NOC TEER categories – TEER 0, TEER 1, TEER 2, or TEER 3.

Language Ability

CEC language testing requirements differ depending on the applicant's NOC.

  • For TEER 0 and TEER 1 CEC Applicants: CLB/NCLC 7 for all four abilities.
  • For TEER 2 and TEER 3 CEC Applicants: CLB/NCLC 5 for all four abilities.

Note: The Canadian Experience Class (CEC) does not have specific education requirements. However, having completed education in Canada or abroad, along with obtaining Educational Credential Assessments (ECAs), can enhance CRS scores for applicants.

3. Federal Skilled Trades Program (FSTP)

The minimum requirements for this program are divided into three sections:

Skilled Work Experience

Applicants must have a minimum of two years of skilled work experience within certain eligible NOC groups over the five years preceding the application submission.

Language Ability

FSTP requires a minimum score of CLB/NCLC 5 for speaking and listening, and CLB/NCLC 4 for reading and writing.

Job Offer/Certificate of Qualification

FSTP applicants must possess either of the following:

  • A full-time job offer for a total period of at least one year.
  • A certification of qualification in a skilled trade, which must be issued by a Canadian provincial, federal, or territorial authority to be valid.

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